Anand crushes Shirov to remain in joint lead

By Our Chess Correspondent

Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands), Jan 27 (PTI) ViswanathanAnand scored a crushing victory over Alexei Shirov of Spain inthe 10th round to maintain his position at the top in the 73rdTata Steel chess tournament here.

Anand''s victory came about the same time when AmericanHikaru Nakamura triumphed over Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and thetwo maintained their co-leader status moving to an identicalseven points out of a possible 10.

In another major surprise of the tournament world numberone Magnus Carlsen suffered his second defeat with whitepieces in the tournament bowing to Russia champion IanNepomniachtchi in a hard fought game.

The other two over night leaders � Vladimir Kramnik ofRussia and Levon Aronian of Armenia played out draws withDutch duo of Jan Smeets and Anish Giri respectively to remaina half point behind the two leaders.

With just three rounds to come it remains crowded at thetop and it seems a close call between the top fourplaced players.

Carlsen, after the devastating loss, shares the distantfifth spot with Vachier-Lagrave and Nepomniachtchi on 5.5points and will now need a miracle to find himself in theleading group.

Anand faced the Slav defense against Shirov who playedblack and quite nonchalantly gained the upper hand in thecomplexities that arose in the middle game.

Shirov was off-form here and this game was anotherattestation to the fact as the Spaniard missed some fineprints and landed himself in troubles.

Anand took his chances and was rewarded. Optically theIndian ace was a pawn less but he had dropped it deliberatelyand could always pick it up anytime.

"It was a very complicated game," said Anand, "I thinkhe missed this manoeuvre in the end that simply wins. AnywaysI feel it was more pleasant for me as if white messes up itwould be an equal endgame and if black messes up (whichhappened) he is checkmated," the World Champion added.

As it happened in the game, Shirov''s resistance did notlast long after Anand got the winning manoeuvre on the boarddismantling black''s king side in quick time. The game lastedjust 26 moves.

Meanwhile in the ''B'' group Grandmaster Surya ShekharGanguly rose back with a fine win against Friso Nijboer ofHolland to take his tally to four points.

The lead positions changed here as Zahar Efimenkov ofUkraine joined Wesley So of Philippines in the lead on 6.5points.

Tania Sachdev played out a draw with Benjamin Bok ofHolland in the ''C'' group to take his points to five. DanieleVocaturo of Italy continued to lead this section with a fullpoint on 7.5 points.

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